"The Nights and Times of Ned Clery" (2014)
"Why would a Rhyll want to be friends with an ordinary boy like me?"
This question refrains every time Ned Clery remembers that first encounter with the strangely shaped clump one full moon night in his vegetable patch. From the instant that it glows green and hums tunefully in response to his innocent questions, Ned is caught up in a curiosity and daring that begins a series of journeys to mystical realms, to meet a cast of wonderful beings and to solve a puzzle-book full of challenges. With the flawed reasoning of a ten year old, his decision to transplant the Rhyll to a flowerpot begins a chain of missteps that transports him in his greenhouse on an irregular schedule of full moon night adventures.
On one occasion, Ned saves elfish creatures, while at the same time taming a wolverine and returning it to its home – all achieved through the persuasive power of peanut butter. Another time, he faces down a giant countess who has kidnapped the Rhyll, and by inspiring a community of titan-humans, stands up to her bullying and thievish ways. On a foggy night by a lighthouse, he not only rescues a young couple and their dog from the ocean, but also reunites a ghostly couple who have been haunting the coastline in search of each other. But Ned’s favourite experience of all has to be when he and his half-yeti friend Neville restore the North Pole’s power by risking their lives to harvest solar gems from an active volcano in the tropics.
While he goes off on night-time adventures, Ned’s daylight hours also become more exciting, mostly due to his best friend Maeve. She dares him to learn new skills and to meet new people, and every time he gets lost on the sidelines, she draws him back in.
As each adventure challenges Ned to be smarter and braver, the Rhyll gradually reveals itself to him. He discovers its vision chords, sees images of its home planet, hears its musical harmonies, and finally makes his own thoughts go quiet enough to actually hear its voice.
By his tenth adventure, the Rhyll pronounces Ned trained enough to face the future, a timeline which pulls his former adventures together to show Ned a world that has benefited from his talents and experiences. In this future he is astonished to meet a little girl with that all too familiar daring which can only mean that she has found her own Rhyll.